Bath proposes 8.2% drop in budget for next fiscal year

by Trish Rudder

The Town of Bath proposed budget of $838,813 was decreased by $74,918, or 8.2%, for fiscal year 2024-25.

The proposed budget for Fiscal Year July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025 was published in The Morgan Messenger in the last two editions.

The proposed budget was to be accepted by the Bath Town Council, according to the agenda for the Tuesday, April 16 meeting,

The bulk of the town’s revenue comes from a projected property tax collection of $187,163.

Projected revenue

Some of the larger projected revenue sources include an estimated $125,000 in refuse collection, $108,000 in hotel occupancy tax, $58,000 in business and occupation tax, $46,200 in rents, royalties and concessions, $40,000 in wine & liquor tax, $35,000 in excise tax on utilities, $34,000 in police protection fees and $34,000 in street fees.

The coal severance tax fund of $4,500 in revenue from the state has not yet been determined where it will be used. Last year, the funding was used for town street paving.

Projected expenses

The town’s largest expense is the $212,571 cost for the police department, a $29,093 decrease from last year’s budget.

Berkeley Springs Police Chief William Carper said recently he is hopeful the federal COPS grant the town is applying for will be awarded to fund a full-time police officer.

The town projects it will spend $196,581 for garbage services – a $3,841 increase over last year for the garbage department due to continued higher costs for fuel and landfill fees, uniform maintenance and personnel costs, said Councilwoman Rebecca MacLeod, who heads up the Public Works Department.

Some of the larger expenses include $132,876 for City Hall, $130,265 for town streets and highways, $54,000 for the visitors bureau, $54,000 for Parks & Recreation and $20,000 for street lights.

Some of the other expenses for next year include $12,500 for street construction, $6,000 for contributions to Comm/Authorities, $5,000 for the City Attorney, $3,800 for  the Police Judge’s Office, $3,500 for Elections, $3,000 for the City Auditor and $2,000 each for both the Fire Department and Flood Control/Soil Conservation.

Levy rates begin July 1

The net amount to be raised by the levy of property taxes in the town is $187,163.

The rates for the two classes of real estate in the town were the same as fiscal year 2023-24.

Town officials approved the tax rate of 25 cents per $100 of assessed value for Class II properties inside the town limits.

Class IV properties, which include all other property inside the town limits, will be taxed at a rate of 50 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The budget goes into effect July 1 and ends June 30, 2025.

Property owners will see the approved tax rates on their new tax bills in July.